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In Theaters: Take Some 'Friends With Kids' To See 'John Carter' Or Get Out Of The 'Silent House' For Some 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen'

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist March 9, 2012 at 1:03PM

TGIF betches! I set off for the magical land of queso and breakfast tacos tonight-- yep! Going to Austin for SXSW. But not without a little Friday In Theaters to set you off right. It just wouldn't be right to depart without a mild rant about the "John Carter" marketing campaign! Yes, this weekend the questionable Civil War/Sci-Fi "John Carter" muscles its way into theaters, as well as Elizabeth Olsen spooky movie "Silent House," and funny attractive people with problems rom-com "Friends with Kids."
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Friends With Kids John Carter Silent House Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

TGIF bitches! I set off for the magical land of queso and breakfast tacos tonight -- yep! Going to Austin for SXSW. But not without a little Friday In Theaters to set you off right. It just wouldn't be right to depart without a mild rant about the "John Carter" marketing campaign! Yes, this weekend the questionable Civil War/Sci-Fi "John Carter" muscles its way into theaters, as well as Elizabeth Olsen spooky movie "Silent House," and funny attractive people with problems rom-com "Friends with Kids."

Time for a quiz! Based off the "John Carter" billboards and posters plastered about your town, what do you think the movie is about? A) a caveman hunting elephants B) a Roman slave forced to fight prehistoric creatures in the Coliseum C) a Confederate soldier who gets beamed to Mars after finding a medallion in a cave, where he befriends some aliens, gets a princess humanoid girlfriend, and jumps around a lot? If you said C, that means you have the psychic powers Disney is counting on to understand their marketing (or maybe they are being intentionally confusing, cause that premise is a hot honeyed mess, sorry 'bout it, Edgar Rice Burroughs). Anywho, Taylor "Texas Forever" Kitsch stars as the titular soldier, and the plus side is that he spends the majority of the movie in various loin cloths. So there's that. Our review says the film "takes big aim at being a grand sci-fi adventure, a journey for our hero in a strange, alien land. But with a lack of motive (or a forever shifting one that settles on the most dull option possible), and a cheapshot ending that sells out the audience on a satisfying conclusion all in the name of serving up a sequel, Andrew Stanton's film never feels like more than just a prelude. And a pretty tedious one at that." Rotten Tomatoes: 48% Metacritic: 52

Silent House Elizabeth Olsen

Everyone's favorite Olsen, Elizabeth Olsen, stars in the Sundance screamer "Silent House," from the directors of shark attack horror "Open Water," in a sort of "Rope" for the 2010s -- the film was shot in only about 8 shots (though they are billing it as a single shot movie). So there's this old creepy house, and...you get the idea. Our review says, the filmmakers "have gone out of their way to make a genuinely scary, occasionally surreal, intensely imaginative thriller. What could have simply been an exercise ends up being truly engaging." Can we put some technical restrictions on "John Carter," for the love of Barsoom? RT: 48% MC: 49

John Hamm's lady love Jennifer Westfeldt is back with her latest writing/directing effort after "Kissing Jessica Stein," with "Friends With Kids," about a pair of friends (Westfeldt and Adam Scott) who decide to have a kid without the relationship that all their contemporaries (John Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd) are having a hard time balancing. Our review says the film "never quite commits to the direction it promises to go in. The result is a movie that features a great middle third, with a patchy start and a bland finish," and "it falls back to a familiar movie-ness that belies the intelligence, wit and charm found in its better moments." RT: 64% MC: 55

"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen"
"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen"

Don't you love movies that explain the plot in their title, like literally? "Man on a Ledge?" "We Bought a Zoo?" Add another one to this fine canon with "Salmon Fishing in The Yemen" (hold up a moment, isn't it just Yemen? Not The Yemen? Whatever, semantics). Anywho, this Brit com stars Emily Blunt, Emily Blunt's teeth and Ewan MacGregor in this story of a fisheries expert (yes) bringing a salmon fishery to Yemen, at the behest of the sheikh's lovely associate. The film is directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and our review says the film "doesn't always inhabit reality, even though its characters are dealing with problems of practicality and logistics. There are some sweet, nicely written moments here, but its charms are often dulled by the execution." RT: 62% MC: 60

Athina Rachel Tsangari is the latest Greek filmmaker to bring something uniquely... weird to the film world, with her feature "Attenberg," about a young woman profoundly unversed and uninterested in sex, and the ways in which she tries to get around this issue. Our review says, "You can call 'Attenberg' a sibling of 'Dogtooth,' as they share a few similarities in look and tone, though the former is much more reserved and completely lacking in violence. But that's not to say it doesn't have its own weirdness," and "it shows someone with a firm voice full of plenty to say." RT: 77% MC: 73

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi"
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi"

Doc "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" hits theaters today, profiling master sushi chef Jiro Ono at work in his 3 Michelin star restaurant, a little hole in the wall located in a Tokyo train station. Directed by David Gelb, the film features gorgeous cinematography and music including Phillip Glass. Our review says, "While its director’s reverence and vision is apparent, 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' often feels overdone thanks to Gelb’s unusual mix of tones." RT: 94% MC: 77

Doc "The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye" follows Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV founder Genesis P-Orridge and his love story with Lady Jaye, whom he has literally transformed himself into, in an act of love and devotion involving many surgeries. We said "that future generations might see this documentary and look upon this pair as two of the most advanced and evolved people on the planet." RT: 77% MC: 72

New Zealand Western "Good For Nothing" features one bad gunslinger and his unlikely hostage/lady love (and um, his erectile dysfucntion) in this Leone-influence film directed by Mike Wallis. Our review says the film "ends up being quite modest, though that's probably for the best, as there are no attempts to 'subvert' or 'exploit' the conventions of the genre... it's best to just enjoy the show, as straightforward as it is." RT: 33% MC: 53

This article is related to: John Carter Of Mars, Friends With Kids, Salmon Fishing In Yemen, Silent House, The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye, Jiro Dreams Of Sushi


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